Rep. Carbajal Blasts House GOP Bill Designed to Hamstring Tools that Lower Central Coast Energy Costs
New House Republican majority also blocks Carbajal-backed amendments to restrict oil drilling off California coast
Washington, January 27, 2023
Tags: Lowering Energy Costs
Today, Congressman Salud Carbajal (CA-24) denounced a measure put up for a vote by the new Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives that would hamstring the Executive Branch’s ability to release oil from the United States’ strategic reserves, despite evidence that previous releases have helped offset gas price spikes over the past year.
“Members of both parties agree that increased energy costs, including our gas prices, hurt our constituents–but sadly it seems the new majority in the House is more interested in tying the President’s hands on the most effective tool we have to combat price spikes than stabilizing energy markets,” said Congressman Carbajal. “I know Californians have felt the pinch of higher energy costs since Russia’s invasion almost a year ago. That’s why I’ve helped create new ways to help lower home energy costs for Central Coast families. I encourage everyone to learn more about those new tax credits and rebates made available by the Inflation Reduction Act by visiting my website at Carbajal.house.gov/energy .”
According to the Department of Energy, gas prices nationwide are down roughly $1.60 per gallon from last summer’s peak, about a 30 percent decline, thanks to releases from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) authorized by President Joe Biden in 2021.
The bill offered by House Republicans this week, H.R. 21, would block any releases from the strategic reserve until oil and gas drilling in the United States is expanded on federal lands by the same percentage that it releases oil from the SPR.
This commensurate release is required despite the fact that the oil and gas industry already has 26 million acres of public lands under lease, of which more than half is unused. Fossil fuel companies are also sitting on approximately 9,000 approved but unused permits for oil drilling in the U.S.
Carbajal, a longtime champion of protecting California’s shorelines and protected public spaces from future oil exploration, also backed amendments to block future oil drilling off the Central Coast of California, measures which are similar to California Clean Coast Act – the first bill ever introduced by Carbajal as a member of Congress.
Those amendments were blocked by House Republicans in individual votes prior to final passage of the bill.
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